Vanguard takes the weight at Afrox's Coega expansion

tanks transgerma

Vanguard takes the weight at Afrox’s Coega expansion

A 100-tonne, 38-metre long ‘cold box’ and other equipment was recently moved by Vanguard for Afrox’s R300-million Air Separation Unit (ASU) at the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) near Port Elizabeth.

With a production capacity of 150 tonnes per day, the ASU will produce a variety of industrial gases for the automotive, food processing and medical sectors in the Eastern Cape, and will give Afrox direct access to customers throughout the province.

The new plant – the first of its kind in Africa – has been constructed by Linde Engineering, a subsidiary of the German Linde Group, of which Afrox is a member. The cold box is an insulated enclosure containing cryogenic heat exchangers, distillation columns and associated valves and piping.

Contracting to German forwarding company TRANSGERMA Riedl & Kiehntopf GmbH, Vanguard discharged the cold box directly from the vessel in the Coega port onto a long self-propelled modular trailer (PST), to make the three-hour journey to Afrox’s new site in the IDZ.

“The trailer configuration is mainly governed by the route to our destination and the mass and geometry of the load,” said Roland Cumings, managing engineer at Vanguard. “By virtue of being self-propelled, the trailer allowed an over-hang on the front and back, so we were able to reduce the length of the trailer thereby tightening up the turning radius.”

This ensured that the trailer could negotiate the road corners and the access to site without making changes to any infrastructure. While the distance from the port to site was limited, the route was within the Coega IDZ and strict authorisations were required from the Coega Development Corporation to preserve civil works.

“The IDZ permits are even stricter than national and regional roads, involving the submission of traffic management plans, risk assessments and engineering reports,” he said. “We engineered this particular solution for our client in order to reduce the risk and cost of making changes to IDZ infrastructure.”

Positioned on staging beams on the PST, the cold box could then be staged on stands at the Afrox site while the trailer was hydraulically lowered and driven out.

The second phase of Vanguard’s contract was to move another shipment of Afrox plant, this time comprising four large tanks – three for nitrogen and one for oxygen – each weighing about 100 tonnes and measuring almost 30 meters in length.

“These were more technical moves, requiring long trailers and dealing with some challenging constraints such as very tight clearances between the large diameter tanks and the bridges and portal sign we had to pass under,” said Cumings. “There were at times less than two inches of clearance after activating the hydraulic lowering functions on the trailer.”

Vanguard also handled all the smaller shipments of cargo such as containers and smaller break-bulk, as a series of shipments came in over a three-month period up to October 2014.

Cumings emphasised the importance of the detailed planning and engineering process that precedes any of Vanguard’s projects, ensuring that all challenges are factored in to the equation and addressed timeously and efficiently.

“This takes the risk out of the project, so the client will have the comfort of knowing that their budgets and other deadlines will not be disrupted by delays or over-runs,” he said.